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Water: Biosolids

Principal Biosolids Guidance

Cover image of Environmental Regulations and Technology: Control of Pathogens and Vector Attraction in Sewage Sludge EPA/625/R-92/013; revised July 2003

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Environmental Regulations and Technology: Control of Pathogens and Vector Attraction in Sewage Sludge is a publication that provides useful guidance for successful compliance with 40 CFR Part 503 Subpart D. This subpart is the regulatory backbone of Class A and Class B pathogen requirements discussed in this website as well as the foundation for the Pathogen Equivalency Committee. EPA Publication 625/R-92/013, revised 2003, is a primary reference for regional, state, and local regulatory authorities and their constituents.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction
  • 1.1 What is Sewage Sludge?
  • 1.2 U.S. Regulation of Treated Sewage Sludge (Biosolids)
  • 1.3 Implementation Guidance
  • 1.4 Definitions
  • 1.5 Pathogen Equivalency Committee
  • 1.6 What is in this Document?
Chapter 2: Sewage Sludge Pathogens
  • 2.1 What are Pathogens?
  • 2.2 Pathogens in Sewage Sludge
  • 2.3 General Information on Pathogens
  • 2.4 Protecting Public Health – The Part 503
  • 2.5 Frequently Asked Questions
Chapter 3: Overview of Part 503 Subpart D Requirements, Their Applicability, and Related Requirements
  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Pathogen Reduction Requirements
  • 3.3 Vector Attraction Reduction (VAR) Requirements [503.33]
  • 3.4 Applicability of the Requirements [503.15 and 503.25]
  • 3.5 Frequency of Monitoring
  • 3.6 Sampling Stockpiled of Remixed Biosolids
  • 3.7 Record-keeping Requirements [503.17 and 503.27]
  • 3.8 Reporting Requirements for Sewage Sludge [503.18 and 503.28]
  • 3.9 Permits and Direct Enforceability [503.3]
Chapter 4: Class A Pathogen Requirements
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Vector Attraction Reduction to Occur With of After Class A Pathogen Reduction [503.32(a)(2)]
  • 4.3 Monitoring of Fecal Coliform or Salmonella sp. to Detect Growth of Bacterial Pathogens [503.23(a)(3)-(8)]
  • 4.4 Alternative 1: Thermally Treated Sewage Sludge [503.32(a)(3)]
  • 4.5 Alternative 2: Sewage Sludge Treated in a High pH-High Temperature Process (Alkaline Treatment)[503.32(a)(4)]
  • 4.6 Alternative 3: Sewage Sludge Treated in Other Processes [503.23(a)(5)]
  • 4.7 Alternative 4: Sewage Sludge Treated in Unknown Processes [503.32(a)(6)]
  • 4.8 Alternative 5: Use of PFRP [503.32(a)(7)]
  • 4.9 Alternative 6: Use of a Process Equivalent to PFRP [503.32(a)(8)]
  • 4.10 Frequency of Testing
Chapter 5: Class B Pathogen Requirements and Requirements for DomesticSeptage Applied to Agricultural Land, a Forest, or a Reclamation Site
  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 Sewage Sludge Alternative 1: Monitoring of Fecal Coliforms [503.32(b)(2)]
  • 5.3 Sewage Sludge Alternative 2: Use of a Process to Significantly Reduce Pathogens (PSRPs) [503.32(b)(3)]
  • 5.4 Sewage Sludge Alternative 3: Use of Processes Equivalent to PSRP [503.32(b)(4)]
  • 5.5 Site Restrictions for Land Application of Biosolids [503.32(b)(5)]
  • 5.6 Domestic Septage [503.32(c)]
Chapter 6: Processes to Significantly Reduce Pathogens (PSRPs)
  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 Aerobic Digestion
  • 6.3 Anaerobic Digestion
  • 6.4 Air Drying
  • 6.5 Composting
  • 6.6 Lime Stabilization
  • 6.7 Equivalent Processes
Chapter 7: Processes to Further Reduce Pathogens (PFRPs)
  • 7.1 Introduction
  • 7.2 Composting
  • 7.3 Heat Drying
  • 7.4 Heat Treatment
  • 7.5 Thermophilic Aerobic Digestion
  • 7.6 Beta Ray and Gamma Ray Radiation
  • 7.7 Pasteurization
  • 7.8 Equivalent Processes
Chapter 8: Requirements for Reducing Vector Attraction Reduction
  • 8.1 Introduction
  • 8.2 Option 1: Reduction in Volatile Solids Content [503.33(b)(1)]
  • 8.3 Option 2: Additional Digestion of Anaerobically Digested Sewage Sludge [503.33(b)(2)]
  • 8.4 Option 3: Additional Digestion of Aerobically Digested Sewage Sludge [503.33(b)(3)]
  • 8.5 Option 4: Specific Oxygen Uptake Rate (SOUR) for Aerobically Digested Sewage Sludge [503.33(b)(4)]
  • 8.6 Option 5: Aerobic Processes at Greater than 40°C [503.33(b)(5)]
  • 8.7 Option 6: Addition of Alkali [503.33(b)(6)]
  • 8.8 Option 7: Moisture Reduction of Sewage Sludge Containing No Unstabilized Solids [503.33(b)(7)]
  • 8.9 Option 8: Moisture Reduction of Sewage Sludge Containing Unstabilized Solids [503.33(b)(8)]
  • 8.10 Option 9: Injection [503.33(b)(9)]
  • 8.11 Option 10: Incorporation of Sewage Sludge into the Soil [503.33(b)(10)]
  • 8.12 Option 11: Covering Sewage Sludge [503.33(b)(11)]
  • 8.13 Option 12: Raising the pH of Domestic Sludge [503.33(b)(12)]
  • 8.14 Number of Samples and Timing
  • 8.15 Vector Attraction Reduction Equivalency
Chapter 9: Sampling Procedures and Analytical Methods
  • 9.1 Introduction
  • 9.2 Laboratory Selection
  • 9.3 Safety Precautions
  • 9.4 Requirements for Sampling Equipment and Containers
  • 9.5 Sampling Frequency and Number of Samples Collected
  • 9.6 Sampling Free-Flowing Sewage Sludges
  • 9.7 Sampling Thick Sewage Sludges
  • 9.8 Sampling Dry Sewage Sludges
  • 9.9 Control of Temperature, pH, and Oxygenation After Sample Collection Samples for Microbial Tests
  • 9.10 Sample Composting and Size Reduction
  • 9.11 Packaging and Shipment
  • 9.12 Documentation
  • 9.13 Analytical Methods (See Note: Under Appendices F and G)
  • 9.14 Quality Assurance
Chapter 10:  Meeting the Quantitative Requirements of the Regulation
  • 10.1 Introduction
  • 10.2 Process Conditions
  • 10.3 Schedule and Duration of Monitoring Events
  • 10.4 Comparison of Feed Sludge and Sludge Products
  • 10.5 The Effect of Sludge Processing Additives on Monitoring
  • 10.6 Collecting Representative Samples
  • 10.7 Regulatory Objectives and Number of Samples that Should be Tested
Chapter 11: Role of EPA’s Pathogen Equivalency Committee in Providing Guidance Under Part 503
  • 11.1 Introduction
  • 11.2 Overview of the PEC’s Equivalency Recommendation Process
  • 11.3 Basis for PEC’s Equivalency Recommendations
  • 11.4 Guidance on Demonstrating Equivalency for PEC Recommendations
  • 11.5 Guidance on Application for Equivalency Recommendations
  • 11.6 Pathogen Equivalency Committee Recommendations
    (Note: Several new equivalencies have been recommended by the PEC since the latest edition of EPA/625/R-92/013. See the Equivalent Processes page for a more current listing.)
  • 11.7 Current Issues
Chapter 12: References and Additional Resources

Appendices

  1. EPA Regional and State Biosolids Coordinators and Listing of EPA Pathogen Equivalency Members
  2. Subpart D of the Part 503 Regulation
  3. Determination of Volatile Solids Reduction by Digestion
  4. Guidance on Three Vector Attraction Reduction Tests
  5. Determination of Residence Time for Anaerobic and Aerobic Digestion
  6. Sample Preparation for Fecal Coliform Tests and Salmonella sp. Analysis
    Note: Updated EPA methods for fecal coliform and Salmonella sp. were finalized in June 2005 which incorporate the information in this Appendix. The methods are scheduled to be legally available for regulatory compliance under 40 CFR 503 by the end of August. Facilities testing under 503 will be recommended to use the new methods, but not required by federal regulations. It may be useful to refer directly to these methods instead of this Appendix.
    For fecal coliform enumeration, see: EPA Method 1680 (PDF) (51 pp, 1.1MB) or EPA Method 1681 (PDF) (50 pp, 889K).
    For Salmonella sp., see: EPA Method 1682 (PDF) (48 pp, 1MB).
  7. Kenner and Clark (1974) Analytical Method for Salmonella sp. Bacteria
    Note: An updated EPA method for Salmonella sp. has recently been finalized. See the note above.
  8. Method for the Recovery and Assay of Total Culturable Viruses from Sludge
  9. Test Method for Detecting, Enumerating, and Determining the Viability of Ascaris Ova in Sludge
  10. The Biosolids Composting Process

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